Many individuals who develop COVID-19 experience kidney damage, or acute kidney injury (AKI). Investigators recently evaluated the incidence, risk factors, and prognosis of AKI in adults with COVID-19. Their findings appear in an upcoming issue of CJASN.
The study was conducted in Tongji hospital in Wuhan, China, which was assigned responsibility for the treatment of severe COVID-19 cases by the local government. Investigators led by Gang Xu, Ph.D. and Shuwang Ge, MD analyzed information pertaining to 1,392 patients who tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.
The team found that, in patients with COVID-19, AKI is uncommon but is linked with a high risk of in-hospital mortality. Seven percent of patients developed AKI during hospitalization, many within 7 days after admission. The in-hospital mortality rate was 10% in patients without AKI vs.72% in patients with AKI. After adjusting for potential confounding factors, AKI was associated with a 5-times higher odds of dying while in the hospital. Also, the risk of death was higher with greater severity of AKI.
Factors associated with a higher risk of AKI included severe COVID-19 disease, high blood levels of creatinine (an indicator of kidney dysfunction), low blood levels of certain immune cells, and high blood levels of a protein fragment indicative of elevated blood clot formation and breakdown.
“Prior to this study, there was limited information concerning epidemiological characteristics and outcomes associated with AKI in patients with COVID-19,” said Dr. Xu. “Our results indicate that AKI is strongly associated with mortality, and that careful monitoring of AKI is necessary early in the course of infection.”
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